14 dead, 176 unaccounted for after Washington mudslide; President declares state of emergency
WATCH: Hundreds of volunteers and emergency workers are digging through a massive mudslide in Washington state, but hopes are fading that anyone else could have survived. John Daly reports.
U.S. President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Washington state following a deadly mudslide which flattened a rural area northeast of Seattle Saturday.
Currently there are 176 people reported missing and 14 people killed in the mudslide.
Snohomish County emergency management director John Pennington says that doesn’t mean there are 101 injuries or fatalities.
But he says it’s the consolidated list of reported missing from various sources that authorities are working from.
Fourteen people were killed, several people were injured and about 30 homes were destroyed when the mudslide hit at around 11 a.m. near the town of Oso.
Rescue efforts were hampered over the weekend because of extremely dangerous conditions. Crews said they could hear voices calling for help, but were unable to reach anyone.
GALLERY: Deadly Washington mudslide
Search efforts are continuing Monday, however hopes of finding any more survivors alive are waning two days after the slide. Officials say some bodies may never be found.
Authorities say the slide was caused by ground water saturation from recent heavy rainfall. John Pennington from the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management said the area has a history of unstable land, as a slide also happened there in 2006.
Residents both upstream and downstream from the slide were being asked to prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice, Snohomish County spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler said.
WATCH: President Obama monitoring situation in Washington state closely following landslide
With files from the Associated Press